Jared Leto has ‘Love Lust Faith and Dreams’ by static multimedia
Jared Leto has ‘Love Lust Faith and Dreams’
Musician-turned-actor, Jared Leto formed the band 30 Seconds to Mars with his brother, Shannon Leto in 1998. The group found success in the 2000s with a mix of post-grunge, screamo, and hard rock with Jared as the lead vocal, rhythm guitar, and songwriter. Love Lust Faith + Dreams is 30 Seconds to Mars’ 4th studio album that will be released May 21st.
Rumor had it that you weren’t going to make another album after entering the Guinness world of records for the longest rock tour ever…
We thought about life and what to do with it, and I think at that point we had been touring for about 2 years straight and we ended up touring for 2 years and 4 months…Everybody needed a break and we took one. I went into writing and entered the studio immediately actually. That was my break. I love the studio, I find it very relaxing. So it was good to get some perspective and to be rested and to move on to other things.
There was never any doubt you’d come back with another album?
No, I think there wasn’t any clarity about what the future…we didn’t have any plans for anything. So when people asked us what the future held, I think we were just really honest and said we had no idea. We didn’t have plans to record, we didn’t have plans to tour, we didn’t have any plans. And sometimes it’s important not to have plans. So I think that there was a lot of speculation but our position was we really didn’t know what the future held. We had been on the road an incredibly long time and it was important for us to take some time away.
Is Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams a concept album?
Yeah, it is. It’s not a rock opera but it’s conceptual. It’s not a narrative. Those 4 words, those 4 topics are crucial elements in life and I don’t think you can live a very fulfilling life without any of them. You must have all or nothing. On the album, each song is related to one or more of those themes. So ‘Up in the air’ is related to lust and to dreams. ‘End of all days’ relates to faith and maybe to lust. There’s actually a graph in the album that kind of shows you where we think the songs belong. And those 4 chapters divide the album into sections. It’s nice to organize thoughts for me as when I’m working on something I tend to want to organize things so that I have a greater understanding, a greater clarity about what I’m doing. It’s a map, so to speak, or a puzzle.
Words that come to mind when listening to the record are epic, eclectic and above all cinematic. Do you think of music in visual terms?
I do think of music in visual terms and I appreciate those adjectives. I think at times the album is epic, it is cinematic. At other times, it’s very intimate and organic. It’s orchestral and bombastic and sometimes fragile too. And that’s what makes a great album is diversity and dynamic. I think that we’ve made the album of a lifetime. We’re incredibly excited about it. It’s a brand new chapter for us.
Your new video, directed by you, promises to be more like a short film than a video. Is it going to be in the vein of ‘Hurricane?’
I think there are some similarities in the new video to ‘Hurricane’. I think that they both are very surreal and beautiful and lush and dreamlike, but there’s something slightly more celebratory about ‘Up in the air’. ‘Hurricane’ was a pleasure to make and really a dark film and I think that ‘Up in the air’ is more about celebrating life and the images in front of it. ‘Hurricane’ was a dream. I was following some bizarre Freudian, Yungian, subconscious adventure. And certainly there’s more of that here but heavy on the metaphors, less on the story I think.
Is ‘Up in the air’ partly about a kinky sexual practice?
That’s funny. That’s a good question. Is ‘Up in the air’ about a kinky sexual practice? I think you could take it how you want to. There is a very provocative line in it about erotic asphyxiation. But it’s also about power, really. They say that everything is about sex but sex isn’t really about sex. Sex is about power, right? That’s the kind of cliché. And I think you can say the same about the song. This song is about sex but not really, it’s about power. It’s about control, taking control of yourself, your life. I think it’s nice to play on both worlds.
You’ve sent the track into space with the help of NASA. Is it just a gimmick or does it mean something special to you?
Oh no, it’s not a gimmick at all. It’s really something very special, very personal. It’s the stuff of childhood dreams. You know, you release a song and you can just put it on the Internet and that’s nice, but we wanted to do something more. So I thought that going to space would be something that was really unique, that hadn’t been done before, and a great way to celebrate and start not only the release of the song, ‘Up in the air’, but the release of the album, of the video, of the tour, of everything. It’s a great way to begin, to blast off into space.
Damian Hirst has designed the artwork of the album. Is he a fan of the band?
￼￼￼￼￼Well, I’m a fan of his more importantly and admire his work. He’s a provocateur, a maverick and a really important artist. It’s a pleasure and an honor to have him grace the cover, to have his genius grace the cover, and there’s another piece on the CD itself.
I understand you’re an avid art collector. Does your interest in art go back 20 years ago? You went to university to study painting before you got into acting, right?
Yeah, of course. And it really does, it makes a huge impact on my work. Visual art is a huge inspiration for me, probably more so than even music. When I’m working on an album, I take a lot of cues from visual art, from fine art, pop art, conceptual art. It provokes me and pushes my boundaries.
What got you interested in acting after studying painting?
When I was studying painting, I started taking a film class and I fell in love with that and I stopped art school in my third year because I thought that I could get a job as a director if I got a job first as an actor. So my acting was really motivated by my desire to direct. And that’s how I ended up making films.
When did music come into the picture?
Music was always there. It was there before any of it and it was there while I was studying to be an artist. It’s always been a part of my life so it became a bigger and bigger part and a more consuming part of my life. And then I found ‘wow, with music I can explore all of these different things. I can make short films, I can work with design and art, so it really gave me a great opportunity.
Is your ultimate ambition to become a director? You‘ve already directed some videos of your band…
Videos and documentaries, and yeah, I certainly will make a film one day, for sure. We’re always creating something. There are all kinds of content being produced and edited incessantly round the clock. There are 5 or 6 projects going at any given time.
I can’t think of anyone else who’s credible in both fields today, in film and music. How do you define yourself, if you define yourself? As a musician, actor, director, businessman?
I think I’m just me. I don’t find myself in any one category. I like what Andy Warhol said, that labels are for cans not for people. I think that’s a great statement. You know, if you’re a creative person you should just create. You shouldn’t worry that one day you’re sculpting and the next day you’re painting. I think it’s ok to use your imagination and creativity in any way you see fit. If that’s being a writer or a dancer, then fantastic but as long as you’re dedicated and committed and true to yourself and your dreams, you should do anything even if it means you fail.
Throughout your career, you’ve indulged in extreme dieting and eating for certain roles. You’ve lost about 30 pounds for Requiem for a Dream, you put on 70 pounds for Chapter 27 and recently you’ve lost another 30 pounds for The Dallas Buyers Club. How do you do it?
Losing and gaining weight I’ve only done if it was necessary for the role. I’ve never been really asked to do it so much as the role required it. It’s not a fun thing to do but the simple rule in losing and gaining weight is you have to consume more calories than you burn or less calories than you burn. So it’s really about not eating at the end of the day. But there are certain types of food that are incredibly risky and not good when you’re in that place. But you have to have a lot of will and focus and determination.
Do you see those parts as a challenge?
Yeah, it’s certainly a challenge. It’s very difficult. I mean in December I’d lost all that weight but I’ve gained it back, mostly. I still have another 5, 10 pounds maybe to gain it all back. But it was intense. I lost a lot of weight for a film that I made called The Dallas Buyers Club. I play a transsexual who was dying and it was very intense.
Was it daunting to play a transsexual? What was the most challenging part of it?
The high heels, pretty challenging! Waxing my whole body…probably the emotional part of it was the most challenging in all honesty. That’s always the most challenging is being in that place and delivering the performance, the craft.
Do you keep a painting of yourself in the attic? What are the secrets to your youthful looks?
I generally try to take care of myself and work really hard but sleep very deep and eat very well and things like that. I think that has a lot to do with things probably.
Are you interested in fashion at all?
Not really. No, I’m not interested in fashion. I don’t care so much about that but I am interested in really talented people and if they’re in fashion that’s interesting to me. And I do see people like that. I have a friend called Kris Van Assche who designs his own line and works at Dior who’s incredibly talented. So you see people like that or Karl Lagerfeld or something, you can see the mastery, the craftsmanship, the talent, the risk taking. That’s ￼￼￼￼￼really interesting to me but fashion in general, not really. I don’t have any concern. Have you seen me today? I’m basically wearing pajamas.
A couple of years ago, you were voted by GQ the world’s worst dressed man. But now you are in GQ as the face of a Hugo Boss perfume. Isn’t show-business fickle?
Yeah, I think what was funny about that is I was the world’s worst dressed man but then in a different country, for the same magazine, I was the best. It’s all silly. I’m not in a contest to be the world’s best dressed man. Certainly I would lose that contest anyway. So I don’t care. I’m kind of goofy.
Are there misconceptions about you and is there one that bugs you in particular?
Sometimes things bug you. You have to have a thick skin but sometimes people say things or people that have an audience, whether it’s GQ or somebody else that might want to take a stab at you, that doesn’t really bother me so much. But there are people out there, when other artists say things sometimes that can bother you, especially if you happen to have liked their work and that’s happened to me a couple of times. Fortunately it hasn’t been people that I greatly admired but when people come out and say things that are silly or…that can be hurtful sometimes. It’s only happened to me a couple of times but I’m a big believer in ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, just shut your fucking mouth’, right? Isn’t that how that saying goes? It’s snarkiness and all that, it’s just not my thing. I don’t think it’s very classy but I get why people do it.
People want a headline, they want people to click on their link. But I think generally I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of supporters out there and at the end of the day, how many people do you need to love you before you feel ok about yourself? So if there are people out there…it’s the same thing if you went to work and you heard somebody said something about you, you would be…your feelings would get hurt. If it happens again and again, and people are bullies, then that’s not nice…But I’ve had a pretty fair shake. I think I’ve been treated pretty well, especially the press has been good to me overall and I think that we’ve had a good relationship but I enjoy my private life. I don’t put my life on display. It’s not what I’m after.
I read that you don’t listen to a lot of music. Is that right?
Totally true. I wish I did in a weird way but it’s hard for me to listen to music because it’s distracting, for me. It makes me think too much. I tend to see music and oddly I never realised this until a few years ago but the way that I hear music is different. Some people hear music and see colors, you may have heard of this. Some people have senses that happen simultaneously. They think they can smell something and see colors or something. Scientific fact, it’s not like some weird thing. But I think for me when I hear music it kind of…it triggers too much for me. I get too involved and the way that I interpret it, it makes me start problem solving. It’s just too much work most of the time so it has to be very…a situation where something else isn’t going on and it’s just the music cause I tend to have a way of organizing it in my head that makes it not so pleasurable I guess.
When you do, what do you listen to?
When I do, I listen to things that are pretty mellow: soundtracks to films, Morricone or Giorgio Moroder orTangerine Dream, Sigur Rós. Fever Ray, I thought that was a great album. Yeah, mellow kind of stuff.